Insights into Artistry | C'mon, Get Your Creative On
Product photos are probably one of the most important components of an artisan’s website. Images not only tell much about the product itself, but often the artist’s personality as well. If you’re fortunate enough to afford hiring a professional photographer to shoot your product photos, consider yourself blessed. However, if you’re an artist who is just starting out or a veteran who still remains cost conscious, then you may be under some tight budget restraints. Let’s face it. No one wants to spend more money than they have to. Personally, if I can do it myself, and master the task in the process, then I feel that I’ve accomplished something quite meaningful. I’m no expert photographer, mind you, but what I lack in experience, I make up for in old-fashion gumption. Resourcefulness goes a long way . . . especially if you’re low on cash.
When I started shooting my product photos, I relied upon my faithful 12-year-old Canon SLR. It takes wonderful photos, and in many cases – and in my opinion – there is no digital substitute for the unique quality of film. However, film processing is expensive and if the photos are used for web purposes, there are some extra steps needed to turn those photos into usable digital images. So, needless to say, I wanted to go digital. I looked for a camera that not only could handle super close shots of my jewelry designs and produce a high quality photo but also a camera that was rugged and priced within my small budget.
This past Christmas, I received a Pentax W-90. It’s a rugged, economical 12mp point-and-shoot. Its compact, water-proof, shock-proof and can perform in extreme temperatures should I ever decide to shoot in the Sahara or the Arctic circle – which is highly unlikely – but it’s nice to know I can use the camera outdoors with no worries. What I like about the W-90 is it’s macro capabilities for its price point. The W-90 super macro mode focuses at 1cm and offers a built-in micro-LED light source for low light macro shots. Even without a small tri-pod, and I highly recommend them for macro photography, my shots are sharp and vivid. What I’ve discovered is that with a little practice and creative use of natural lighting, the W-90 can produce some great shots. While a high-end DSLR would be nice to get my hands on, after working with my adequate point-and-shoot, I am convinced that one can produce high quality images if one is willing to get creative and well-acquainted with the intricate functions of whatever camera one owns.
A few Observations
Macro photography is a lot like life. The closer one successfully focuses in, the more detail one finds. Attaining the right balance is key to finding ones’ proper focus. Being able to take the small and insignificant and create views that inspire is deeply meaningful. Such dedication demands great imagination, a resilient creativity and disciplined practice. The result is often the realization that the gift is not necessarily the finished product alone, but the process by which one arrives at it. This is the power of the small . . . and in the case of the Pentax W-90. . . the ridiculously inexpensive.
Do you have some photography tips and tricks to share? If so, please feel free to add your comments.
Photos taken with the Pentax W-90
Some people cringe at the prospect of buying Sterling silver jewelry due to the tarnishing properties of silver. Memories of hours of cleaning Grandma’s tea set linger fresh in their minds. Yet, Sterling silver is relatively easy to care for.
Silver Earth Designs jewelry pieces are created with a combination of Argentium, Sterling and Fine silver. All are easy to care for, however, Sterling is more prone to tarnishing, yet a few simple steps can keep your handcrafted jewelry looking beautiful.
There are several factors that contribute to silver tarnish. Perfume and natural body oils, as well as coming in contact with chlorine and salt in swimming pools, can lead to tarnish. To clean silver, an anti-tarnish polishing cloth is a quick and efficient way to clean and regain a high polish.
I do not recommend using harsh chemicals found in many commercial jewelry cleaning solutions. The chemicals may damage certain gemstones, such as Opals, Pearls or Turquoise. A simple mixture of warm water and baking soda is effective. Submerge the jewelry piece in the solution and brush gently with a soft toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly, dry completely, and then use your polishing cloth. The cloth will “blacken” over time, but don’t be tempted to wash the cloth, as this will remove its anti-tarnish properties.
For best results, keep your jewelry in small felt bags or in anti-tarnish jewelry boxes made especially for Sterling silver.
These simple steps that take only minutes of your time and help keep those wonderful silver jewelry pieces looking their best.
For centuries, traditional Sterling silver has been the choice of jewelry artisans due to its light color, strength and malleability. However, Sterling does present some challenges. Specifically, it is prone to fire scale and tarnishing. While thoughtful, simple solutions can keep both at bay, it’s good to know that there is an alternative to traditional Sterling: Argentium.
I began working with Argentium about a year ago, and I love it. Its properties are similar to traditional Sterling (92.5% silver), yet it offers some rather nice perks. Due to its Germanium and lower Copper composition, Argentium is a fire scale-free alloy and is highly tarnish resistant. This makes fusing/soldering and finishing times much more efficient. However, a few technical aspects should be noted.
These are just a few of the technical aspects of Argentium. More in-depth information on Argentium can be obtained at: www.argentiumsilver.com
I think once you begin working with Argentium, you’ll soon discover it’s seductive power. Have fun creating, but most importantly, always follow proper safety procedures.